The Rules of the Tunnel- Ned Zeman
A journalist faces his toughest assignment yet: profiling himself. Zeman recounts his struggle with clinical depression in this high- octane, brutally funny memoir about mood disorders, memory, shock treatment therapy and the quest to get back to normal.
Thirty-five million Americans suffer from clinical depression. But Ned Zeman never thought he’d be one of them. He came from a happy Midwestern family. He had great friends and a busy social life. His career was thriving at Vanity Fair where he profiled adventurers and eccentrics who pushed the limits and died young. Then, at age thirty-two, anxiety and depression gripped Zeman with increasing violence and consequences. He experimented with therapist after therapist, medication after medication, hospital after hospital- including McLean Hospital, the facility famed for its treatment of writers, from Sylvia Plath to Susanna Kaysen to David Foster Wallace. Zeman eventually went further, by trying electroconvulsive therapy, aka shock treatment, aka “the treatment of last resort.” By the time it was over, Zeman
I've never been shy about talking about my own struggles with depression and several people around me suffer from varying degrees of mental illness, so I am not a stranger to a lot of the things talked about in this book. I will also say that I found myself shaking my head and laughing because it's so damn honest, at the same time feeling bad that I'm laughing at a person's situation.
Did I learn anything from this book? Absolutely. I learned that medication is scary, deceitful and it doesn't always work. I learned that people get desperate to just be normal and function and it leads them to look at even scarier options. It also made me feel more compassionate towards those in my life who suffer from mood disorders because they truly can't help it. And that's really the thing, isn't it? Unless you are among one of the millions of people who suffer with a mental illness, you truly can't know how difficult it is to just get through the day.
Admittedly, this book was a bit difficult for me to get into at the beginning. Mostly because I was confused as to how the people he profiled for Vanity Fair had anything to do with his clinical depression. But once he got into the meat of his illness, the therapies that didn't work, and ultimately the nightmare of having to fight against amnesia after shock theapy I was instantly hooked. Because it's one thing to be suffering with an illness like this, but it's quite another to have no recollection of your life leading up to the shock therapy, then having amnesia. He is essentially playing "This Is Your Life" but he doesn't remember it but knows it can't be good, and he's having to re-live all of the bad things again.
How many people would say "sign me up" knowing that? I know I wouldn't, that's for sure. But it's that kind of thing that makes you feel sympathetic towards his desperation.
So all in all, I liked this book because I could identify it. But it's a great book for anyone to read because we all know someone who suffers from a mood disorder, mental illness, etc or at least has some of the symptoms. It's educational if nothing else.
SO... I have one copy of this book to GIVEAWAY. All you have to do is leave a comment on this post (with your email address) and you'll be entered into the drawing on Monday. You have until Monday, August 8th, at noon to enter.